“How do you imagine the European citizen of the future?”
An essay by Carina Strøm Smith
How could I really imagine a citizen of future Europe?
My imagination can at times be very farfetched, stretching towards the bizarre, but with the warnings we so commonly receive these days about dangers like global warming and war, poverty and overpopulation, I sometimes get so lost in the facts that I believe the world doesn’t have long left, and therefore have a hard time imagining that there is, in fact, any future to imagine at all. But were I to go out of the facts for a moment, and walk back into my own little mind, the same one that tells me, “Hey, we’re all going to be okay, just take a deep breath and count to ten” every time I’m troubled by such thoughts, I’d like to believe that we have a lot of future ahead of us. Perhaps a happier and fairer future awaits us than that of our present world. And when I move into this little place of my brain, there is a little voice that says to me, “one”. And what may this voice mean by that?
I imagine that the future European will have a wider heritage than the European of today – instead of a Norwegian being a Norwegian and a Italian being an Italian, people of “mixed breeds”, so to say, will be much more common than they are today – and in that way, we will learn to accept the cultures around us in a way we could only dream of, and also, most likely, handle far more languages than the average European does in this day and age.
I imagine that the future European will have grown up in a world of change, where spite on other religions, ethnicity and cultural heritage will be a thing of the past. We will learn to accept each other for the beautiful people we are.
I imagine that the future European will have learnt to take care of and respect nature, not only by using substitute methods of transports for those that need the use of gasoline or other climate-killing substances, but also by preserving the wildlife of our countries, and respecting the animals that have lived here as long, or longer, than we ourselves have. Because when it comes to quoting, I think there’s a lot of truth behind what Gandhi once said; “A nation’s greatness can be judged by how they treat their animals.” I believe that if someone is able to live up to these standards, it is Europe, and even though we may not be capable of seeing it today, perhaps, in the future, we will have become a wiser people.
I imagine that the future European will be a wiser person. The Internet is a source of knowledge that we few years ago couldn’t have imagined, and opens the door to a whole new world. But I also hope that the future European won’t have let the book die out, as there is no greater satisfaction than being able to put down a good book, close that chapter of the story, and in a way, of your life.
I imagine that the future European will have a greater outlook on the world itself, not only of Europe. I hope we will be as friendly as we can with all our neighbour continents, and not drown ourselves in arrogance – to create a wider outlook, you have to think outside of the box, or in this case, outside of the continent.
I imagine that the future European will know the history of the world, but still not dwell in the past.
I imagine that the future European will be a great lover, and an even greater friend.
I imagine that the future European will respect his or her elders, and at the same time respect his- or herself.
I imagine that the future European will see past petty, fake beauty.
I imagine that the future European will be a European, not a “little American”.
I imagine that the future European of my dreams will come sooner, rather than later.